Wicca, satanism, Santeria, tarot cards, witchcraft, herbs — it’s all about the same to many of the residents of Pecan Springs, Texas, the fictional town where lawyer China Bayles has opened an herb shop. Her neighbor Ruby has a New Age shop, and the townspeople warn her that offering Tarot classes near Halloween might ruffle some feathers. They’re right.

China doesn’t care much about Tarot or about ruffled feathers, but she cares deeply about free speech, and when the publicity-hungry demonstrators from the Everlasting Faith Bible Church arrive with placards, she feels she has to speak up.

Things go from bad to worse as the usually peaceful town is plagued with animal sacrifice, arson, and murder — and Ruby finds herself a suspect.

Meanwhile, back at China’s place, she has to deal with a visit from her newly sober mother, ambivalence about her single-dad boyfriend, and some soul searching that has nothing to do with Halloween spirits.

China and her friends aren’t at their most likable in this mystery, and the plot is a bit thin if you don’t get distracted by the occult trimmings, but it’s an enjoyable read nonetheless, and it could spark some lively discussions for October book groups.